Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug wants to remain a Bruin. The Bruins want that to happen too. That much is almost as clear as the suddenly clear skylines of most major cities thanks to Coronavirus quarantines and lockdowns. Much like the conflicting reports on if and when the NHL may return though, what Krug continues to tell the media and fans are not in sync with what Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has said.
Krug maintains, as he has throughout not just the pause but the 2019-20 season, that there have been no contract talks between him, his agent Lewis Gross and Sweeney, while the Bruins GM maintains that talks have been ongoing. That continued on Tuesday when Krug held a virtual town hall with Bruins season ticket holders. While acknowledging the influence of the NHL pause and an all but certain flattened salary cap at best, he once again reiterated his desire to stay with the Bruins but claimed negotiations between his camp and the team have been non-existent.
“There hasn’t been any discussion,” Krug said. “I was prepared for that, just because of the unknown. No one knows what the financial implications are going to be for this league and for each individual team for years to come. That’s still being sorted out. So I didn’t really anticipate anything like that coming out of it. Obviously very hopeful. As I’ve said all along, I want to be part of this group and part of this locker room and part of this city. It’s become home for us and we love it. We even named our dog ‘Fenway’! How much more Boston can you get?
That’s basically the same as the update he provided earlier in the month in a Zoom conference call with the media. In that call though, Krug gave a much more grim outlook on his future with the Bruins.
“For me personally, I really hope I did not play my last game as a Boston Bruin,” Krug told reporters on April 7 after informing them that there had been no talks to that point. “It’s been a special place for me and my family to grow. My love for the game and playing in front of these fans has been very special to me. But [this situation] hasn’t given me any clarity. It makes you wonder about this process a little more because I was just in the moment thinking only about helping my team win games and hopefully push our team toward winning a championship.”
Three days later, also in a Zoom call with the media, Sweeney expressed the same sentiment about keeping Krug in Black and Gold for the rest of his career but also said that he has shared that desire with Krug and Gross because talks have been ongoing.
“In a cap world, we try to fit the pieces together. We have had very, very good discussions with Torey’s group, but we just haven’t found a landing spot and that’s understandable given the circumstances of where the cap is,” Sweeney told reporters. “As I’ve said, every discussion and every contract has its own timeline and we’re hopeful we’ll find a resolution with Torey and Lewis Gross but at this point in time, we haven’t been able to do so. But it’s been very amicable. We’ve made our feelings perfectly clear that we respect what Torey has done and what he’s capable of doing for us as a member of the Boston Bruins and we hope that continues.”
There’s a very strong chance that neither side is lying here but rather in spin control and/or giving their honest assessment of the situation. That being said though, it’s been clear, long before the Coronavirus outbreak stopped this season, that the two sides remain far apart and the longer that divide remains, the more potentially interested teams will start to prepare their pitch and offers for the Bruins’ highest-scoring defenseman for the last six seasons.
The Detroit Red Wings are expected to be one of those teams and on Tuesday, when asked what players he pretended to be as a kid, Krug, a Livonia, Michigan native who was a big Red Wings fan growing up, said Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom, and Darren McCarty. He also mentioned Bruins legend and hall of famer Ray Bourque, who has become a mentor for Krug since he signed with the Bruins back in March 2012.
So while contract talks remain stalled, Krug, his teammates, Sweeney, and Bruins fans are all hoping his next dog is named ‘Gahden’ and not ‘Joe Louis’ after the arena he grew up watching the aforementioned Red Wings legends in.